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Highways and transportation: we need a joined-up approach



Last week [30 April] the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation published its manifesto, A transport network fit for all of our futures. And it makes a lot of sense.


Potholes are an emotive issue for many road users. And, of course, eliminating them – while minimising carbon emissions – is Thermal Road Repairs’ main mission.


But what the manifesto underlines is that policies on highways and transport must be joined up. Local authorities cannot make roads safe and sustainable for all their many users – car drivers, public transport, freight and delivery vehicles – without some major changes, not least in relation to funding and forward planning.


The CIHT manifesto addresses the issues that need to be tackled under six topics: making transport networks resilient; decarbonising the transport sector; everyone travelling sustainably; safe travel for all; developing a skilled workforce; and reprioritising funding.


Among the recommendations that CIHT makes are several which ring true for Thermal Road Repairs, as a low carbon SME in the highways sector. These include:

·      Future governments putting the legislative framework in place to allow the trialling of innovative products, materials and techniques

·      Using purchasing power to boost carbon reduction in procurement policies

·      Making our streets, towns and neighbourhoods accessible to all

·      Raising awareness about the importance of road worker safety

·      Drawing on a wider pool of people to build a skilled workforce

·      Committing to long-term (10 to 20-year) local roads investment strategies


As the manifesto reiterates, our highways and transportation networks are crucial to every aspect of our lives. Improving the way that they are funded and managed will boost employment and local economies, improve life chances and social mobility and reduce carbon emissions and other negative environmental impacts.


The CIHT, which represents over 14,000 people working in highways and transportation, now plans to use its manifesto to engage with parliamentarians, local authorities, transport bodies and other stakeholders. It will be interesting to see how many of CIHT’s recommendations are taken up by the various political parties in their manifestos – when the timing of the national election is set.


As the elections for London Mayor demonstrated so well, concentrating on one issue – in that case the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) – is not a good plan. There are many different voters who use highways and transport networks in different ways. The electorate can understand that these issues are interdependent and intertwined – as long as they are properly communicated.


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